"I feel that pulp super-hero comics depend on a safer, less risky approach to the telling of a story. They're children's books for Christ's sake. Since what I want to do, and what must be done, is to explore the form, to play with different kinds of contents, I work primarily in different formats. What has to develop is a structure to the industry where the avant-garde of the talent is encouraged to do the more ambitious work, where the pulp super-hero comics and the buttheadedness of their readership no longer restrain bolder work, but rather are affected by it, synthesizing techniques that develop, and are steadily pulled forward from the storytelling methods of the '40s."In my research for this week's "When Words Collide" column, I came across that excerpt from a 1985 interview with Miller, published in The Comics Journal #101. (That whole issue of TCJ is a fascinating time capsule of the time right before Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns.)
Here are my questions:
1. Even though we talk about how different the comic book landscape looks now compared to 1985, have Miller's words become true?
2. Have the superhero comics truly synthesized the techniques of the "bolder" work done in the medium?
3. Is it the "buttheadedness" of the readers that continues to restrain the genre?